WGS 2018 Global Dialogue for Happiness Explores Relationship between Microbiomes and Mood

Sunday 11 February 2018
John Cryan
Dubai - MENA Herald:

Dr John Cryan, Professor & Chair, Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork, emphasized the importance of diet in promoting microbiome diversity and good mental health. His observations came during a session built around ‘The Science of Happiness & Wellbeing’ at the Global Dialogue for Happiness in Dubai.

“Our lexicon has words and phrases such as gut instinct, gut-wrenching, gutted, and gut feeling. The interaction of brain, gut and microbiome is a big indicator of stress, psychiatric and immune-related disorders at key time-windows across the lifespan,” said Cryan in his session entitled ‘A Gut Feeling About Happiness’.

Cryan is currently studying the effect of stress on the brain, body and across demographics. Describing a study on a group of 200 elderly individuals in Ireland, which examined several health indices, he said: “We observed that the healthiest individuals were those who had the most diverse microbiome that were from diverse diets and living in communities. A diverse diet is a key driver to a diverse microbiome. We are increasingly noticing in the Western world that the lifestyle and diets are extinguishing components of microbiomes, which will naturally impact well-being and health.”

There are trillions of microbial species in the world and thousands of them live in or on the human body. Our bodies are made up of 37.2 trillion cells, but our microbiome­ – all the bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in or on our bodies – outnumber human cells, prompting scientists such as Cryan to define us as more microbial than human. These microbes contain vast amounts of information about our lifestyles – as they are unique to each individual.

Introducing the term “psychobiotic”, or targeting microbiome for mental health benefits, Cryan reiterated the importance of the co-relation between food and mood and recommended increasing the intake of prebiotics (fibers and vegetables), omega 3 fatty acids, polyphenols (nuts, seeds, coffee, dark chocolate), fermented foods (yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi) and reducing the intake of processed foods, emulsifiers and sweeteners. “We’ve also noticed an improvement in microbiome diversity with the incorporation of more exercise, avoiding stress, women avoiding elective C-section births, mothers breast-feeding and the minimal use of antibiotics,” he said.

Biotechnology features prominently across the sixth edition of the World Government Summit. Thought leaders and scientists have convened to discuss groundbreaking discoveries in science and medicine that promise to enhance and energize the healthcare sector, as governments seek to redefine their future mandates and goals.

The Global Dialogue for Happiness serves as a curtain raiser to the World Government Summit 2018. The outcome of these workshops and sessions will be compiled in a manual that will help governments raise the level of happiness across nations.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organizations.

Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features five distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialized global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit are being launched during the event.

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